Sammy Sosa sprinted across the outfield, high-fiving his teammates along the way. Thousands of Cubs fans sang Take Me Out To The Ball Game over and over. \nIn one magical evening, the Chicago Cubs ended 95 years of frustration. \nKerry Wood pitched another dominating game and Aramis Ramirez began the celebration with a mammoth home run, pushing the Cubs past Atlanta 5-1 in the decisive Game 5 on Sunday night for their first postseason series victory since the 1908 World Series. \nThe Cubs -- yes, the Cubs -- move on to play Florida in the National League championship series. Game 1 is Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. \n"We heard a lot of negatives from people, and they have reason to be negative," first-year manager Dusty Baker said. "They haven't had any reasons to be positive for a long time." \nThey do now. When Andruw Jones struck out swinging on the final pitch, flashbulbs went off around the stadium. Catcher Damian Miller threw his arms in the air, then charged the mound to embrace closer Joe Borowski. Sosa tore across the grass with his arm in the air. Wood, sitting in the dugout, pumped his fist before heading to the field to join the celebration. \nIn the stands, Chicago's fans shouted, hugged and derisively performed the Tomahawk Chop -- the Braves' signature cheer. \nBack in Chicago, thousands of Cubs fans streamed into the streets surrounding Wrigley Field when the game ended. Police had to shut down the streets surrounding the ballpark, and fans danced, cheered and hugged each other in an impromptu victory celebration. \nThe old, red marquee board outside the ballpark read simply, "Cubs Win!" \n"I lived 'til next year," said an elated Norma Rolfsen of Chicago, a die-hard Cubs fan. "It's here! It's here! Thank God for Dusty Baker." \nThe Braves suffered another heartbreaking loss in the postseason, going down for the second year in a row in Game 5 of the division series. \nTwelve straight division titles have produced only one World Series championship, and the Braves face an uncertain future. Gary Sheffield, Greg Maddux, Javy Lopez and Vinny Castilla are all in the last year of their contracts. \n"We just didn't make any adjustments," Braves closer John Smoltz said. "They pitched the same way the whole series. But they dominated. It's not like they were throwing slop up there." \n"It's unbelievable," said Sosa, who endured a beaning, injured toe and that infamous corked bat this year. "For me and everything I've been through, it's one of the great seasons that I've had." \nA couple of ex-Pittsburgh Pirates helped the Cubs break through in the postseason. Kenny Lofton led off the game with a double and came around to score the first run. Ramirez put the Cubs up 4-0 with a two-run homer in the sixth -- a massive, 132m shot over the center-field wall. \nBraves pitcher Mike Hampton didn't even turn around after Ramirez connected. With Wood on the mound, the Cubs could have popped the champagne right then and there. \nWood won for the second time in the best-of-five series with a performance that matched his effort in Game 1. \nYankees 8, Twins 1 \nThe New York Yankees hit four doubles in a six-run fourth inning Sunday, giving David Wells a big lead and breezing into the AL championship series with an 8-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins. \nAfter a sloppy loss in the opener which brought back memories of last year's first-round flop against Anaheim, New York beat the Twins three straight times to clinch the AL division series 3-1. \n"We fought our way through it," manager Joe Torre said. "We know there are a lot of distractions in New York. In the postseason, they're magnified." \nA rested Yankees team will open the AL championship series tomorrow at home against Oakland or Boston. \n"They're the best team in the league," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Somebody has to knock them off." \nWells improved to 9-2 lifetime in the postseason by going 7 2-3 innings for the Yankees, who sent 12 batters to the plate in the fourth and knocked out Twins starter Johan Santana. \nBernie Williams and Hideki Matsui each hit an RBI double, and Nick Johnson added a two-run double. Alfonso Soriano's bloop two-run single made it 6-0. \nDerek Jeter later homered for the Yankees. After losing Game 1 at home 3-1, New York outscored Minnesota 14-3. \n"They're a confident bunch," Gardenhire said. "If they start hitting, they win a lot of games." \nAthletics 4, Red Sox 5 \nDavid Ortiz's two-run double in the eighth inning gave the Boston Red Sox a thrilling 5-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, and forced a decider in the best-of-five AL division series. \nManny Ramirez, who was 1-for-12 coming into the game, had two hits and scored the go-ahead run. \n"I couldn't think of a better time for that to happen, because the clock was running out there," Boston manager Grady Little said. "That was a good time for them to bust loose." \nOakland has lost eight consecutive times when it was just one win from advancing in the playoffs, the longest streak in major league history. To snap that slump, they'll have to beat Boston ace Pedro Martinez after the teams fly across the country for Game 5. \n"We feel like we have the driver's seat because we have Pedro going tomorrow," said Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon, who homered and threw out a runner out at third. "We know Pedro's going to be on." \nScott Williamson pitched two perfect innings for the win, getting Erubiel Durazo to pop up to third base for the final out. \nThe A's got disappointing performances from two of their best pitchers. Starter Tim Hudson, pitching on three days' rest, left after one inning because of a strained muscle in his left side. Keith Foulke, who led the AL with 43 saves during the regular season, took the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in the eighth.
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
Neymar on Sunday claimed that he had been the victim of racism as he was one of five players sent off in a mass brawl at the end of Olympique de Marseille’s 1-0 win over Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain. PSG’s Brazilian star appeared to accuse Alvaro Gonzalez of calling him a “monkey” in a series of furious tweets after he was sent off in stoppage-time for slapping the Marseille defender on the back of the head. “Look at the racism. That’s why I hit him,” Neymar, who was returning from COVID-19 quarantine, said as he left the pitch. “The only regret I